Sharing a meal with people you care about is an event as ancient as you can get. Breaking bread together is a symbol of forgiveness, togetherness, and a shared understanding of our humanity. It is a signal of coming together, sharing resources, and forging friendships. It is especially important in our fast paced world, where a sit down dinner can be elusive at a school like Proctor where we are all going in a hundred different directions, all good directions, but different. This past weekend we carved out time for Advisory dinners. Some had to play field hockey at New Hampton, or soccer against Bridgton, but we did our best to share a meal together, and it was a powerful experience.
Advisory Dinners are some of the best evenings of the semester, though scheduling them is not easy. Last Wednesday night my advisees came over for a meal, but we had to balance a JV Girls Soccer game at 4:00 pm, Open Gym at 6:15 pm for a basketball player, extra-help for a math student, and the time I needed to clean up my house, bake a lasagna and frost a birthday cake. I try to do a dinner for each advisee’s birthdays, letting them choose the meal and the kind of cake they desire, a tradition left over from my childhood. (My brother always chose fish-sticks, my sister never failed to opt for spaghetti.)
I boarded the Roseway on Thursday morning at 6:30 am with trepidation. I had signed up for the day sail from Portsmouth to Boston on a glorious hot, still, calm July day in Andover. But this morning was fogged in, rain and thundershowers were predicted and big swells were inevitable. We sign up for things, sometimes, with a romantic notion of what they will be—an AP class that will impress our parents and colleges, a summer service trip that will be fulfilling and profound, an off-campus program that will challenge and inspire. And then when we get to the class, or the airport, or the dock, our feelings sink—why did we ever think this was a good idea?
At Proctor, we care deeply about the relationship between the advisee and the advisor. We value the time we spend together each day in advisory, assembly, and at school events. Our advisory groups become safe havens where we talk about the issues on campus, the plans for the next trimester, or the upcoming dance. Sometimes we meet at the dining hall, at the Wise, or in a faculty home, and it is always good when there is food. Advisory provides a chance to slow down, have a conversation, or laugh together. For me, it is my favorite time of the day.
A reluctant blogger….
I come from a family of English teachers and fell in love with reading and writing long before the Internet. I read voraciously throughout my childhood devouring all the Little House on the Prairie books, and I wanted to be Nancy Drew. In high school I read all of Jane Austen’s novels during a winter break, and I still re-read them every year or two—just for pleasure.